#00649
The Valley Of Kilbride (MacEdward Leach)
See also: The July Drive (Also collected by Leach)

On the battle field in sunny France,
A hero brave did stand;
He thought of friends he loved so well,
In dear old Newfoundland;
When a vision bright did gain his view,
The dear old riverside,
And the home he loved in boyhood days,
In the Valley of Kilbride.

A comrade he lay wounded,
Lay dying on the field;
Those plucky Newfoundlanders,
They died before they'd yield;
On no man's land they rushed across,
Where shot and shell do fly;
On no man's land they rushed across,
You could hear their charging cry.

No coward's blood runs through their veins,
They'll conquer now or die;
They gained the front line trenches,
From the enemy that day;
While on their right or on their left,
Machine guns they did fly;
When the dying comrade raised his head,
A signal to draw nigh.

He says, "Dear Jack, those parting words,
I want for you to hear."
He says, "Dear Jack, those parting words,
I want for you to know."
He says, "Dear Jack, those parting words,
I want for you to tell;
To my father and my mother,
Likewise my sister Nell.

"Tell mother not to weep for me,
But pray for me each day:
And whisper words of comfort, Jack,
To her that's far away;
And whisper words of comfort, Jack,
And take her by the hand;
And tell her in that July drive,
How bravely I did stand.

"There's another one who waits for me,
And thinks that I'll come home;
Go and tell her that in Bowring Park,
We never more shall roam;
We never more shall meet on earth,
Since you and I must part;
But still her memory lingers yet,
Within my bleeding heart.

"There's a photo that she gave to me,
Lies closely by my side;
You can scarcely recognize it now,
For with my blood it's dyed;
You can scarcely recognize it now,
But you will be sure to know;
It's a photo that she gave to me,
Not a few short months ago."

His voice grew weak, he scarce could speak,
He freely grasped my hand;
He says, "Dear Jack, do not forget,
To bring tidings to Newfoundland."
He says, "Dear Jack, do not forget,
How the blood flowed from my side;
God comfort my dear mother,
In the Valley of Kilbride.

"I know that you will miss me, Jack,
For soon we have to part;
I know that I won't live long with,
The pain that's in my heart;
I know that I am dying with,
The pain that's in my side;
My home I never more will see,
In the Valley of Kilbride.

"I know that you will miss me, Jack,
When you are all alone;
My grave will be in sunny France,
Far from my native home;
My grave will be in sunny France,
Way out on no-man's land;
And the dark-haired girl will weep for me,
In dear old Newfoundland."

####.... Original Newfoundland song, written by John MacDonald, a farmer in Kilbride. (See notes below) ....####
Jean Hewson wrote GEST on July 1, 2014: "While this song has been attributed to Johnny Burke, Eric West did some research on it and solved the mystery of its authorship. It was composed by a man named John MacDonald who was a farmer in Kilbride. His granddaughter is a well-known Newfoundland writer named Geraldine Rubia-Chafe. She verified this fact and also edited the text for Eric's book All Together Now from a variety of existing texts. I don't know when it was written, or if he composed it about someone that he knew. It would be cool to try and find that out! I will see if Eric has any additional info."

Collected in 1950 from Jacob Noseworthy [1900-1985] of Pouch Cove, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A variant was collected in 1976 from Dorman Ralph [1923-1999] from Little Harbour Deep and St John's, NL, by Genevieve Lehr and Anita Best and published as #113 in Come And I Will Sing You: A Newfoundland Songbook, pp.193-194, edited by Genevieve Lehr (University of Toronto Press © 1985/2003).

Genevieve Lehr noted that this song was possibly written by Johnny Burke. Moses (Uncle Mose) Harris [1911-?] of Lethbridge, Bonavista Bay, NL, calls the 'plucky Newfoundlanders' (verse 2) 'plucky Terra Noviers (Novians)' and adds this extra verse:


Out of that drive five came alive I'm sorry for to say.
O'Donnell he was our captain, he stepped into the fray,
And to those few survivors leaved he did extend his hand
And he said: "Brave boys, I'm proud of youse and dear ol' Newfoundland."

Historical note: Between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., on July 1, 1916, the First Newfoundland Regiment, part of the 29th British Division, was virtually annihilated at Beaumont Hamel as they advanced into point-blank enemy fire. Of the 801 who went into battle, only 68 were able to answer the roll call the next day.


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